Is Your Gmail Address Secure on an Android Smartphone?

Many of us now have a personal Gmail address. If you’re lucky, you’ll already have and treasure your firstname.surname@gmail.com and you may like to limit its exposure to prevent too much spam, and junk in your email inbox. Admittedly, Gmail has very good filters to cut this out, but let’s face it, you may possibly have this email address for another 40 or 50 years if you’re in your 20’s and if email still continues to be a serious form of communication in the future. So it’s perhaps worth being a little careful with just who gets that address. In addition, there are increasing concerns about the safety of personal information on Android devices.

Here’s what worried me. Within minutes of getting an Android phone, your personal Gmail address is soon firmly entrenched in it as you log into your Gmail account and download apps from Google Play. You’re probably even searching for apps on your desktop and sending them straight to your phone through your Gmail account. Do the app developers get access to your Gmail address or does Google keep that secret from them?

Well, my first encounter with Gmail address leakage was with Shazam, an app to try to identify music. Soon after installing this app, I received a welcome Gmail from them which worried me. I read the permissions for Shazam but this said nothing about access to my Gmail address. However, after I asked the question on Reddit, someone put me right and pointed out that I had probably rushed through setup and hadn’t read the install screens correctly. So I uninstalled Shazam then reinstalled it taking more care this time. This is what I missed first time round:

Shazam sign up

Should have pressed Skip first time round, not Next.

Okay, but the next reply to my question on Reddit was from an app developer:

When someone purchases one of my apps, I can see an email address in Google checkout, together with an email marketing flag (which presumably they set when entering payment details the first time). Nb I never send emails using this info.

So to protect my personal Gmail address, I guess the best approach might be to get a new Gmail address just for Android app installations. And read the setup screens carefully.

Any thoughts on all this?

One Response

  1. Mahendra Says:

    ya this could be possible. I too use this technique of having different email id for different purpose. i have almost 5 different id and I use them for different purpose.

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